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focus-forming assay

A lab technique used to find out if a particular piece of DNA contains oncogenes (genes which are associated with cancer). This is done by putting the DNA into animal cells which normally show contact inhibition, or which stop growing when they come into physical contact with other cells or reach a certain density in the culture. If the cells lose contact inhibition and form areas of densely-packed cells (called foci) after receiving the DNA, it means that the DNA did contain oncogenes.

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